Game Changer

  • By Compassion Coaching
  • 24 Jul, 2017

Game Changer

Today, my baby son Matthew turns 1 year old. To give some  context about what this means for me, my daughter Caitlin turns 19 years old in just over a month. This makes me an 'older' Dad, and I went into the decision to become a father again with great care and consideration. I considered age, and went: "You know what, I am only as old as I choose to allow myself to be."

A couple of years ago when I decided I wanted to learn to dance, I found an amazing dance teacher. When she taught me to dance, she was 96 years of age. This year she turns 100, and to my knowledge she is still teaching people to dance. I remember after one of our lessons sitting down for a chat, wanting to find out about her, and what made her tick. She loved dancing! She had been dancing since before she hit 10 years of age. Imagine that, 90 years of experience in dancing. For context for me, she had been dancing for longer that what my own venerable father has been alive. Remarkable! 

Coming away from my experience of meeting, learning, and sharing with her, I became very conscious of how often people used age as an excuse. I'm too old to do it. Too old to change. Too set in my ways. What a load!

How often do we use age as an excuse? A consideration for certain decisions, certainly, but when age is used as an excuse to not pursue the things that we are passionate and really care about, then it is a problem. 

With my beautiful, amazing little son, I am both teacher, and student. I have walked this personal development journey for about 10 years now, when my middle child, Alexander, was around 4. I have since learned so much about myself, so much about the deep recesses of the human soul, the impact on power of our upbringing, and how it can subconsciously define who we are, and the decisions that we make. I know so much more, but I am also learning, seeing the world so much more from his perspective.

I know that everything we do, everything we say, he is like a sponge making sense of it all, making his own meaning of what the world around him delivers to him. I have seen how easy it is to try and control our children, so that we don't have to face our own stuff, our own dyfunctionality, our own shame.  

It means I have to grow more, change more, own more, face more, be more of who I am to truly be a role-model to my son. 

For me, Matthew is truly a Game Changer. 

Compassion Coaching Corner

By Compassion Coaching 10 Nov, 2017

Those of you who know me (Paul), know that I would hardly be described as a Green Thumb. Yet with the establishment of Kingsbury House and the achievements we have made there, I have taken to planting.

And in each new plant I have put in, I have found myself in reflection. Now, from previous work I have done in the field of food security, I am a believer in creating an edible environment, that means planting food trees. So far I have been planting seedlings of olive, passionfruit, fig and lime. I have planted each one with a sense of excitement and reverence. This is planting for the future, this is planting for the long term, longer than even my vision can possibly see.

The seedlings I plant now, in years to come may grow, flourish, become great trees and abundant vines, reaching out everywhere. And at this time, they may bear much fruit, feeding and nourishing so many people, many of which may even be well beyond my lifetime.

Perhaps you can see why I have been reflective. Such as it is for myself in my own life, such is as it is that I seek to do for my clients. We plant, then we grow, then we harvest.

Too often we become so impatient and want it all now. Understandable, but we risk not seeing the importance of the steps along the way. When you have planted, then you have to water it, nurture it, give it sunshine and encouragement to grow. We even have to deal with a heap of fertiliser along the way. Some of it may be unpleasant to handle, but ultimately it becomes the rich nutrition on which we can grow.

It is time to plant, and to nourish in your life. Time to pull up those strangling and ugly weeds that it becomes all-too-easy to ignore. It is time for you to start to prepare for your future, quit making the excuses, and plant some great seeds. The new year is almost upon us. How fruitful do you wish your year ahead, and your future life to be?

By Compassion Coaching 19 Sep, 2017

What is it that stops us from moving on? 

Most people are intelligent. In terms of being able to look at information and make logical decisions, most people are very adept at doing this. However, it is important to realise that we don’t make decisions consciously. We make decisions based on our subconscious or our unconscious. And we make our decisions in order to feel a certain way, or at least to avoid feeling a certain way.

If this sounds incredible, then consider junk food. We all have a basic idea about what constitutes a healthy diet. Lots of fruit and vegetables, a bit of protein and carbohydrates. A bit of healthy fats, and avoid sugar and processed food from our diet. Oh, and plenty of fresh water. Simple really. Very logical.

Yet how many of us can claim to eat like this all the time? I certainly can’t. There are many temptations out there, all beckoning to alleviate our current moment of suffering, such as feeling momentarily hungry, or wanting to feel social inclusion and belonging as we eat with others, an inability to say “No” in case we feel judged from someone else, a hidden yet nagging feeling of desperation as we consider that there might not be enough food to go round, or the pursuit of the ‘bliss’ point of salt, sugar, and the way the fat extends this sensation on our taste buds. Hard to resist. And do we resist it? No.

We allow our subconscious and emotional urges to override our logical conscious selves, and we give in to the temptation. Have you ever been very disciplined with food, and then given in to the urge of a thick slice of chocolate cake? Track how it feels. Usually it is a short term high and sugar spike, we feel indulgent and deserving, giving in to the guilty pleasure. And then, other feelings start to move in. Self loathing and guilt. Justification that if we had one slice, we may as well do another… or the whole damn cake.

Our self talk can switch from being “Oh you deserve this…” to “Well another bit won’t hurt” to “Oh my god, what have I done…” to “I am such a failure…” to “I hate myself and I hate my body, and I am helpless to do anything about this…”, and so on. We may hurt so much that we might seek the comfort of food to take away our pain. And so the cycle starts all over again.

Being trapped in this cycle must feel a lot like being stuck in hell. We absolutely hate everything about living there, yet this is where we choose to stay. No matter the addiction, no matter the compulsion, no matter the desire to change, so long as we do it consciously, we will never be able to move through it. We will just be prey to those who want to feed off our misery.

“Have you tried our new miracle diet pill. You will lose dozens of kilos and are guaranteed to end up looking like a photoshopped Kardashian. Satisfaction guaranteed!*” (*in laboratory rats who are fed a strictly controlled diet anyway…)

This usually just adds to the hell that people find themselves in.

People do the same thing in relationships, always seeking to control the other person through being overly controlling or through withdrawing and passive aggression. Perhaps if you control the other person enough, then they will love you. People do the same thing with work, never satisfied or drawing pleasure out of their jobs, and all the while feeling stuck. People do the same thing with their achievements and having a sense of perfection, an impossible thing to reach so they never feel like they are enough. Money, sex, exercise, alcohol, drugs, self-help books, control, clutter, victimhood, martyrdom, self-diagnosis, the list stretches on and on.

All of which are extraordinary little boutique designed versions of hell. And people stay there, because it is so very, very safe.

Occasionally though, when our ability to manage our hell starts to fail, usually because of that one little extra things that gets loaded on top of us, that is when we really start to notice how much we are actually suffering.

When we are finally tired of trying to consciously outwit our subconscious, then we might be able to surrender to admitting the almighty mess that we are in. When we can’t or won’t admit it, then we are stuck in hell. When we can, we create a doorway out. When we are ready to admit and really turn and face how much we have hurt ourselves, or been hurt by, or are hurting others, then we have a fighting chance to really clean this up. When we are ready to allow ourselves to be scrutinised and called out on our shameful behaviours, then we have a chance to leave hell.

There is usually some work to do. It is usually work that we have avoided for such a long time. In our own minds it appears to be impossible. Imagine that you have sat in a room your whole life, sitting in the dark, staring at the one wall. What if you could turn around one day, to discover there was a light switch.

It means doing things differently. It means doing things that you have told yourself were impossible. They become possible as soon as you start doing them.

So ask yourself, how long have you been uncomfortably, comfortably safe in your own private hell. Imagine if you could find a way out? You could then take the first faltering steps to moving on with things.

By Compassion Coaching 11 Sep, 2017

The other day little Game Changer (aka Matthew) and I were heading to the library for our regular visit to return and select new books. Normally I would have him in the pram and it would be a quick trip from the car to the library. However, this day I decided I would carry him. Two shops away from the entrance to the library I thought that I would let little Game Changer walk the rest of the way. In my head I had this scenario that I would put him down, offer him my finger to hold on to and we would work hand and finger the rest of the way – no problems. Yes I hear you all laughing now and yes it was a beautiful naïve story I had running out in my head.

The reality was, little Game Changer didn’t have my story running through his head - he had his own. He was free from the constraints of my arms and there were all these exciting things to explore. Whilst I had seen quite simply that there were two shops left to go to the library, little Game Changer saw…. teddy bears in the newsagent shop window that needed to be inspected, leaves blowing in the wind that needed to be chased, little dogs walking pass that need to be squealed at, water dripping from a downpipe into a drain that needed to be caught, a metal tag sparkling in the sunlight attached to a fire hydrant that need investigation, stairs that needed to be climbed, families that needed to be followed just to see where they were going, birthday cards that needed to be rearranged onto the floor of a shop, people that needed to be said hello to, the list goes on.

It was in the moment of following my little Game Changer and seeing the world through his eyes, I realized how much I block out and focus on what needs to be done and forget or miss out on all these beautiful elements to life that are in plain sight. I know that we have to do this in order to survive and function. But what if every now and then we take an opportunity to look at a problem or life from a different perspective. We are limited by what we know, but what if we created an opportunity to look past what we know and start to see the unknown.

What would have been a maximum one-minute walk to the library became a beautiful reminder to create opportunities to see life from a different perspective, as there could be a gift in that new perspective that could lead to new opportunities and new beginnings, as remember we are only limited by what we know, it's what we don't know that sets us free.
By Compassion Coaching 04 Sep, 2017

How often do you feel stuck?

Sometimes it seems like this starts to define us as human beings. We get so stuck in situations, holding on, not wanting to let go, even when it gets painful. Even when it hurt us. Even though it can feel like we are stuck in hell. At least hell is more comfortable than risking stepping into the unknown. In our own minds we believe that this will really hurt us. Regardless of whatever the reality might be.

So we stay stuck. Safe. Secure. Stuck.

What a pain in the rump!

We can work so hard to achieve our little patch of ground, our little slice of territory, and when we finally get it we can snarl and growl at anyone who comes close to threatening our little bit of hard carved security.

The dilemma is that every time that we do that, we actually create some subtle and self-imposed limits. Often without as even noticing. We may be left with a slightly uneasy or uncomfortable feeling, that may be hard to grab a hold of, like trying to catch smoke. Human beings like to make sense of their world, and so we will look for reasons when we have feelings like this.

We will look outside of us for the actions of other people, for our circumstances or events, or our environment. And we will often lay blame and go: “Ah, it is because of that person / thing / event…”

Or we may look inside of ourselves and we will dredge up any self-doubt, insecurity, self-loathing, and then go: “It is because I am not good enough, worthy to receive, or loveable enough…” and so heap scorn, blame and shame upon ourselves.

We can probably live with a little bit of this, but with all true compulsions, we add more and more to it. It becomes our go-to place, our go-to reason. It becomes our new normal.

So anything then that challenges our ‘normal’ becomes immediately a threat, and we jealously guard our territory, no matter how dysfunctional it might be. We will defend our shadow side, our limitations, to protect ourselves. And having defended our territory, and defended our limitations, we choose to stay bounded by them.

And so the cycle repeats again, and again, and again, and again.

Stepping outside of this cycle, having a pattern break, then becomes the essential step to achieve this. But how do we do this if we have never done it, and may not even be aware of it? Is this an impossible conundrum?

Impossible, no. Counter-intuitive, yes! We actually have to sacrifice our safety. We have to want a new objective, a new goal, a new reality, a new way of being, more than we want the safety and the pain associated with it.

We have to take the proverbial leap of faith into the unknown.

I recently had to do this. I believe I am an intelligent and self-aware man, I can see deeply into situations, see deeply into people, and even into myself. I was recently challenged with an underlying, logical, intelligent, practical, and even, to my mind, proven reality. Yet when I was confronted by it, I realised that there were all sorts of self-limiting beliefs attached to it. It left a subtle heaviness in my heart and soul that actually kept me out of flow with myself and the happenings around me. It was hidden in plain sight!

So I asked myself: “What if I was to just believe something different?” What if I could actually choose what it is that I choose to believe, even when there is no evidence to prove it (because I had never believed it, I had never looked for the evidence, so it became a self-fulfilling prophecy). I checked in that it would do no harm to myself or others, and found that quite the opposite, it could inspire and ignite deeper hope and call to action in myself and to others.

So I changed my belief. One small belief, that had big ramifications. One small step, one giant leap.

It was time to move on. To surrender my territory, and to play with the redefinition of me.

Now, its time to step into the unknown.
By Compassion Coaching 28 Aug, 2017

It is a child’s job to receive love.

That’s what they are designed to do.

From the moment a child is born, they are completely reliant on their parents and caregivers to care for them, nurture them, and provide for their every need.

Of all the creatures born on planet Earth, human beings are born the most helpless, the most vulnerable. Yet, they rise up to become the completely dominant masters of the planet, dominating the food chain. With folded brain and exceptional cleverness they create tools to solve problems and make their lives easier. How ironic that such a fragile creature could become so dominant.

In the years following their birth, human babies are dependent. This dependence means that their formation of their identity, that is who they are, is based on their parents and carers. How a baby learns to see themselves, is a reflection of their own parents way they see themselves and the world.

If a child is treated with love and kindness, respect and opportunities, and firm loving boundaries, they will grow into healthy adults. If not, it can set the child up to live a life of pain, based on a malformed personal identity.

These tortured little children grow up to be adults who become desperate to hide their dysfunction away from the world. They believe if you could see that they are dysfunctional, then you would reject them, and they would not belong. This would mean that they are not loveable. So people go out of their way to hide who they really are.

The worst thing is, when people actually think they succeed with keeping their broken selves hidden, it creates the worst pain imaginable. Let us call it suffering. They live in hell, too frightened and ashamed to reveal their vulnerability. Such people usually describe ‘vulnerability’ as ‘weakness’.

Often these kind of people will be out to prove themselves. Prove their superiority, Prove their adequacy, their importance, their significance. They could achieve great power, or wealth, or fame, or dominance, and it still will not quell the desperate loneliness they feel inside, cut off from their own humanity.

Because if you do not love a child, that child will grow up to feel unloveable.

If a child does not feel or believe that they are being loved, then they are at risk of ‘splitting-off’.

All children are born naturally beautiful and wonderful. They are exploration machines, ready to discover everything about life, read to learn from able and willing teachers. And they need to be treasured and adored, loved wholly and completely. If a child feels that a parent is somehow distracted, preoccupied with the happenings of their own life, then that child may risk splitting-off, away from that natural beautiful self, to become something or someone else in order to somehow regain that attention, regain that love. Splitting-off means becoming someone who they are not, in order to somehow be loved.

It does not make sense in any kind of adult logic, but to a child it is essential, to a child it is life itself. They can split-off to become an achiever, a rebel, a leader, a clown, the responsible one, the scapegoat, the bully, the victim, helpless, hopeless, miserable, golden child, academic, sports star, politician, surgeon, and of course… parent. All these roles, just to avoid feeling the deep inner pain of not being who they really are.

Just to make it even more complicated, when a parent is not aware of this within themselves, and when they choose not to do anything about facing their real selves, they risk inadvertently passing on all of their own unresolved emotional baggage on to the child. So many children, or children in adults body, walk around carrying guilt and shame about who they are, that doesn’t even belong to them. It may be a legacy of their parents, or their parents parents, or their parents parents parents, ad infinitum.

Perhaps if we were to look at parenting with whole new eyes then, a great place to start would be with ourselves as parents. What are the things in us that block our children from feeling loved? How often do we say to our children, with our words or our actions; “Do as I say, not as I do.” What if instead we could start to say: “The more I love myself, and live in that love, the more that my child will learn to love themselves in turn.”

The greatest gift that any parent can ever give to their child, is to live to their fullest potential.

Are you living to yours?

By Compassion Coaching 31 Jul, 2017

Hello!

I would like to introduce myself – I am Tina Stewart. I am wife to Paul, mother to Matthew, step-mother to Caitlin and Alexander, daughter to Ngaire and Donald, sister to Jeremy, behind the scenes accounts and admin person for Compassion Coaching, friend to many and recently I was made redundant from my Oil and Gas position. Beyond all these positions I play in life, I am a woman in pursuit of my IDEAL LIFE.

What is an IDEAL LIFE? It is the life that you carefully select and create that is the ideal fit for you and only you. It is about getting crystal clear on what is important to you, what fulfills you, what gets you excited to wake up each morning and what brings you the greatest satisfaction in life.

My IDEAL LIFE is creating the financial platform to support my family and me to be able to spend as much time as possible with my little son before he gets to school age. It is working part time for the moment to allow for work and life to balance out. It is having a creative outlet to explore and play with my creative talents (which have been hidden for way too long). It is working numbers and creating strategies to grow our business. It is finding ways to support people to grow themselves. It is creating the space to have Tina time in order to keep on developing new skills and new dreams and having time to stop and be.

So with all this in mind, finding out that I was being made redundant from my Oil and Gas role the other week – well instead of being devastated, feeling like it was the end of the world, feeling like I was somehow to blame, or that I wasn’t good enough, or worthy enough to stay. I feel like my redundancy was a beautiful GIFT. It is a gift of new opportunities, it is a gift of giving me some financial breathing space to develop that financial platform in which to spend more time with my family. It is the gift and nudge to push me into working for our business in a greater capacity.

As such, in pursuit of my IDEAL LIFE I wish to celebrate my new role within Compassion Coaching as I will now also be leading our social media, online courses, event management aspects and will be looking at doing one-on-one coaching too.

I am excited about this new path and direction and the ability to pursue my IDEAL LIFE.

What does your IDEAL LIFE look like, I would love to know, share in the comments below.


BTW: The picture above is one I took immediately after I was made redundant as Matthew and I went for a walk along the water and played at the playground - not a bad way to start a redundancy and to pursue my ideal life, eh...?

By Compassion Coaching 24 Jul, 2017
Today, my baby son Matthew turns 1 year old. To give some  context about what this means for me, my daughter Caitlin turns 19 years old in just over a month. This makes me an 'older' Dad, and I went into the decision to become a father again with great care and consideration. I considered age, and went: "You know what, I am only as old as I choose to allow myself to be."

A couple of years ago when I decided I wanted to learn to dance, I found an amazing dance teacher. When she taught me to dance, she was 96 years of age. This year she turns 100, and to my knowledge she is still teaching people to dance. I remember after one of our lessons sitting down for a chat, wanting to find out about her, and what made her tick. She loved dancing! She had been dancing since before she hit 10 years of age. Imagine that, 90 years of experience in dancing. For context for me, she had been dancing for longer that what my own venerable father has been alive. Remarkable! 

Coming away from my experience of meeting, learning, and sharing with her, I became very conscious of how often people used age as an excuse. I'm too old to do it. Too old to change. Too set in my ways. What a load!

How often do we use age as an excuse? A consideration for certain decisions, certainly, but when age is used as an excuse to not pursue the things that we are passionate and really care about, then it is a problem. 

With my beautiful, amazing little son, I am both teacher, and student. I have walked this personal development journey for about 10 years now, when my middle child, Alexander, was around 4. I have since learned so much about myself, so much about the deep recesses of the human soul, the impact on power of our upbringing, and how it can subconsciously define who we are, and the decisions that we make. I know so much more, but I am also learning, seeing the world so much more from his perspective.

I know that everything we do, everything we say, he is like a sponge making sense of it all, making his own meaning of what the world around him delivers to him. I have seen how easy it is to try and control our children, so that we don't have to face our own stuff, our own dyfunctionality, our own shame.  

It means I have to grow more, change more, own more, face more, be more of who I am to truly be a role-model to my son. 

For me, Matthew is truly a Game Changer. 
By Compassion Coaching 19 Jul, 2017

Change is inevitable. If there is one thing you can count on in this life, and in this world it is change. It affects every aspect of our lives. We can either fight it, surrender to it, or work with it. Or perhaps even make change work for us.

With change brings renewal. The ability to transform ourselves, and to reinvent yourself. In the process of reinventing yourself you may have to face the old parts of yourself, the parts of yourself that aren’t working.

Working out what is not working for you is fairly easy, once you know how. It starts by asking this question: “What do I want?”

Think about it. The things that you want are the things that you want, because you don’t have them yet. If you did, you probably wouldn’t focus on wanting them.

Once you have established what you want, you then must look at what are the things that are blocking you from getting what you want. This is where things can get tricky, because so many people like to blame their circumstances on the events of life, or their circumstances, or their own failings or frailties.

In this blame we actually have a key. If our blame is a reflection of our shame, what is our shame? That is; what is our personal take on how we feel about the things about us that we don’t like.

This is where people can get really knotted up. The solution is to learn to express our shame. To express the parts that we don’t like about ourselves. To admit our mistakes. To share our darker thoughts. To express our vulnerability. Rather than have to wear a mask of who we believe that we have to be in order to be accepted and even loved by others. And in doing so, not be our real authentic selves.

Thus, if we cannot express our shame, then we have to stay stuck in the old situation. In order to not then be exposed, we then have to recruit circumstances, problems, situations, obstacles, and events which prevent us from having what we want.

Imagine that. We actually recruit our own sabotage. We stay stuck in order to protect ourselves.

What we then actually bring to the party is our attitude. It might be true that there are some events in our lives that we are powerless to change. Loved ones dying for example. Like change, death is inevitable. How we approach death, or tragedy, or loss, or change, or even windfalls, fortune, opportunities, or even love… will determine the impact of it in our lives.

The invitation then is for the death of the old self, the death of the old way of being, the death of the old beliefs that no longer serve us for the new way forward in our lives.

I am facing such a time within myself. There is so much going on in my life right now, so much activity and change that is shaking up who I thought I was or could be. And as I look into the future for what I want and who I want to be, I realise that I must embrace massive renewal. I must rebirth myself from old beliefs, old habits, old self-sabotages to create something even greater.

Beyond Death lies Rebirth.

Welcome to my declaration of change. Imagine the possibilities.....
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